There’s something that happens when kids grow up. Once they get closer to being an adult they start to see their parents as people and lose the glaze of perfection. You realize they are real, not perfect. Was I the only one to go through this? I didn’t see my parents as perfect superheroes growing up. My mother was always honest with me about whatever she thought her shortcomings were. My dad was pretty upfront as well.
Still, it was a bit of an eyeopener to see them fully human, fully flawed. In some ways it was refreshing! It let me off the hook from trying to be perfect. I am always really hard on myself. Personally and professionally, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself. Having my mom as my role model gave me some things to aspire to but also allowed me to let myself off the hook when I fell short. Seeing her for who she is, without the cape, allowed us to get closer and be even better friends.
I’m striving to be this way with my own kids. I apologize when I’m wrong. When they are down on themselves, I share stories of things I’ve experienced to let them know they aren’t the first to feel that disappointment. I share my flaws and listen to them when they feel like they’ve been wronged. At times, I see their point and we talk it through. It’s a relief to know that I don’t have to be perfect as a mom. I do have my “Ms. Perfect” moments because I really want to always give them my best. Still, being able to drop the weight of the supermom cape is a relief.
Growing up my mother used to always tell me, “I’ve never been a mom before, just like you’ve never been anyone’s kid before. We’re learning together.” That made sense to me. It also allowed us to walk through some things and make our own way – together. I share that same reasoning with my kids. In many situations, I remind myself that they are new here. Things that are common sense to me, they’re just experiencing for the first time. In those cases, I cut them some slack.
The thing is, they don’t know what “perfect” is. They just know what we give them, show them, teach them. In all things, it’s better to be real instead of perfect. If we allow ourselves to be real with them from the beginning I think it takes the pressure off of all of us. The kids aren’t striving for the perfection they think they see in us and we aren’t always striving to be perfect. Instead we’re all allowed to be real – flaws and all.
When did you see your parents as people? Does it change the way you parent your kids?